On Saturday Feb. 20, the Northwestern men’s basketball team beat nationally-ranked Morningside College at home in their 10th consecutive victory. The Red Raiders haven’t beaten the Mustangs since their 66-57 victory at home in 2018. The men are ranked second in the GPAC and finished their season with a record of 20-5, 15-5 in the GPAC.
During their final game, the Raiders took an early lead with an unanswered five points. About six minutes later, the Mustangs tied the score 14-14. For the rest of the half, both sides alternated going on long runs. Overall, the first half was fairly close with four ties and four lead changes.
The half ended with the Mustangs up 38-37. During the break, head coach Kris Korver reminded his squad to keep being competitive and dominating the boards, and it showed.
In the second half during the first five minutes, both sides fought over who could take a decisive lead first. However the Raiders shut down key Morningside players and controlled the game for most of the second half. Defensively, the Raiders prevented the Mustangs from making any of their 11 three-pointers. Offensively, the Raiders outscored the Mustangs 46-28 in the second half. The final score of the game was 83-66 in favor of the Raiders.
Junior Craig Sterk led the charge for Korver’s squad with a single-game career high of 34 points. This game also inducted him as the 48th member of Northwestern’s 1000-point club – joining senior teammates Trent Hilbrands and Jay Small. Sterk went 13-22 from the three-point line and 8-11 in free throws.
Small was another critical player in the match on Saturday. Small finished the game with seven assists and 18 points. A standout play consisted of an assist to Hilbrands to gain a double-digit lead over the Mustangs late in the game.
After the game, the Raiders looked ahead to the first game of the GPAC tournament which took place on Wednesday, Feb. 24 in a home game against Briar Cliff, ending with a stellar win 83-77. The Raiders begin to prepare for their second game of the GPAC tournament which takes place on Saturday, Feb. 27.